By Heather Dodds
Daily News Staff Writer
Jun 15, 2007
“It’s ‘Field of Dreams’ meets ‘The Da Vinci Code’ with a little ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ thrown in, all set in Mount Shasta within the context of a family,” he tells inquirers, adding, “At least that’s how you’d probably pitch it to Hollywood.”
It sounds like a mouthful, but Deal, who’s shooting the film in several locations throughout Mount Shasta and Weed, said the film is primarily about self-discovery.
“I wanted to tell a modern story – in this case, the story of a family suffering from dysfunctionality who have been living the city life and are not connected to who they are,” he said.
“They’re on vacation, when they break down in Mount Shasta and end up having to stay here for a while.”
The film opens with the main character, Hope, having nightmares that allude to a mountain. When the family finds themselves stranded near Mount Shasta, “dramatic things” begin to happen, Deal said.
“The plotline crosses three genres – we go from a family drama to a spiritual mystery, and, finally, the film becomes a mystical adventure.”
Though the film deals with the spiritual realm, Deal says “Dreams Awake” is not only a “spiritual” film.
“It’s a good story – it’s not just for ‘spiritual’ people; there are a lot of ways into this film,” he said.
“I hope the film gives people something to talk about after they see it – I want to start a dialogue with people about the issues brought up in the story.”
The decision to set the film in Mount Shasta stemmed from stories that Deal has heard about Mount Shasta – mysterious lights and sounds, for example, that people have seen and heard emanating from around the mountain, and the Lemurians, who some people believe reside inside the mountain.
“I had to filter through a lot of information,” he said, “because the history of the mountain goes back several hundred years.”
One day when Deal was looking at the mountain from the deck of his vacation home in Weed, he knew he had to write the script, which is the first in a series he calls the “Awaken Trilogy.”
Erin Gray (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Baywatch) plays Hope, and Gary Graham (Star Trek: Enterprise), plays her husband, Marcus. Steve London (The Untouchables) plays a wise sage named Ambrose that the family meets on the mountain.
The shooting will wrap by the end of August and go through post-production editing before it will be available to audiences.
Distributing independent films can be a challenge – one that Deal is still working out how to overcome.
“Because so many people are making independent films now, there’s a huge amount of product,” Deal said. “We’re not going to say ‘no’ to a studio if they want to pick it up, but we’re not necessarily counting on that happpening. It’s like playing the lottery – it’s not impossible, but it’s very difficult.”
He said he believes it all comes down to how well the story is told.
“The bottom line for a film is the performances,” he said. “If those work, I think we’ll be fine.”